“Beast” is a decent movie that could have been better.
Synopsis: A father and his two teenage daughters find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion intent on proving that the Savanna has but one apex predator.
Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Stars: Idris Elba, Sharlto Copley, Leah Jeffries, Iyana Halley
I love lions. This isn’t the first review I’ve started with that verbiage, but it’s still true. They are my favourite animal. Whenever a movie comes out with lions, I say, ‘Take my money!
There are a lot of exciting elements that have come together in this film. Icelandic director, Baltasar Kormakur, is a well-respected filmmaker. Sharlto Copley is a fantastic actor. I think he’s underrated, and his performances usually elevate the films he is in. Idris Elba, have you heard of him? Kidding. His resume grows and grows, but this film is something of a throwback to his first major role, Daddy’s Girls, about a father who wants to protect his daughters.
In this film, Elba plays Nate Samuels, sorry, Dr. Nate Samuels, who is on vacation with his two daughters, visiting an old friend Martin (Sharlto Copley), who works on a game reserve in Africa.
The trip is an opportunity for Nate to reconnect with his daughters Norah and Meredith (Jeffries and Halley) while going to a place the girls’ deceased mother spent a lot of time. Meredith has some residual feelings about this. We are shown some very beautiful cinematography that makes the film's beginning feel like a promotional travel video.
Martin decides to take his guests out exploring. First, they encounter a pride of lions, and we see that Martin has known these lions for some time. He walks up to them, and they embrace him, and he has a good relationship with this pride. It’s quite lovely to see. Very reminiscent of many of the Kevin Richardson videos that have been viewed millions of times on YouTube.
As they continue their journey, they go to a village and see that many people have been killed. Who could have done that? A lion wouldn’t do that!
Situations arise, and now Dr. Samuels, his daughter, and Martin are stranded in the middle of nowhere . . . being hunted.
Kormakur has created a movie with many exciting moments that is a not-so-subtle commentary on the effects of poaching and how important lions are. From the lion's perspective, he does a great job educating the audience on lions, their habits, etc. Those who haven’t spent hours researching lions get a crash course into understanding these majestical creatures.
This is a survival horror film, and like a fan watching a sporting event, it's very easy to watch the characters and say ‘Do this!’ or ‘Don’t do that,’ but there are things in this film that are outside of the scope of realistic. It’s like watching a Fast and the Furious movie where the car can fly between buildings. . . I guess gravity doesn’t exist! Some things just don’t add up, and that’s the case here.
Elba’s performance is decent. The role of a father who wants to protect his daughters at all costs isn’t new for him . . . hello . . . Daddy’s Girls, but there are some aspects, especially in the third act, that are way over the top.
Is the movie enjoyable? Elba and Copley deliver good performances. Lots of fun jump scares in the film.
The movie is sometimes unrealistic, and yes, we can say that about many films, but this one is absurd in some moments. Even if I turn off my National Geographic adoration of lions' brain, this film still has enough plot holes to sink the Titanic.
Was it an enjoyable movie experience? Overall, yes.
But is it a really good movie? It’s good, not great.
Would I recommend people rush out to see it? If you are a big fan of Elba or Copley, sure. If not, wait for Beast to be available on a streaming service.
Beast is a decent movie that could have been better. More effort on continuity and making the film more realistic would have done wonders.
Watch the movie trailer:
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